A rumor regarding Canvas issues caused by “Cyber Monday” on November 30, has been circulating around the Keene State College campus.
Students and faculty experienced performance issues (slowness) when accessing Canvas on Monday, November 30. According to Chief Information Officer for KSC Laura Seraichick, Canvas is a cloud-based service that utilizes AWS (Amazon Web Services) as their cloud platform and service provider. This issue was between AWS and Canvas. Canvas did provide an incident debrief report which indicates approximately 60 percent of all Canvas users around the world were affected at some point.
Canvas completed thorough analysis with Amazon Web Services and are confident that the issue has been fully addressed, minimizing repeat issues in the future.
“The information system isn’t on campus, it’s actually a cloud service that they deliver through Amazon cloud service and that’s their platform. It’s sort of three or four parties involved,” Seraichick said.
Seraichick mentioned that Canvas didn’t have enough computing resources for the demands. However, the additional problem of faculty and students not being able to see courses, rosters and other class materials was KSC based.
“The performance issue, the sluggishness, was one issue. The class rosters and schedules, those were out of whack for a couple hours which happened the following day and that has nothing to do with Canvas and Amazon Web Services, it was KSC,” Seraichick said.
KSC feeds from the student information system to the learning management system, so classes were unavailable. A change was put into that feed to open up next semester’s classes. While doing so, problems came up.
“All we did was redo the feed, which resolved the problem. It had to do with the timing of us saying we want to have both semesters. We do this every year, but we changed one of the perimeters and it messed up.” Seraichick said.
KSC senior Lyndsay Coombs said, “I was unable to submit my papers and assignments and I was unable to look at grades for assignments I had turned in.”
Coombs said that her professors were understanding that students were having issues with submitting assignments.
“I was able to work on other assignments or prepare for finals that didn’t require using Canvas which preoccupied my time until it was back up,” Coombs said.
Other students said that they were not affected by the Canvas issue.
KSC junior Sarah O’Connell said, “I didn’t have much of an issue with it to be honest. It gave me more time to edit my essay so it kinda worked out in my favor.”
KSC junior Nikki Danish said, “The classes I had homework in used other websites so i didn’t notice it was down. My professors didn’t say anything about it because it didn’t affect class.”
Seraichick mentioned what role the Information Technology Group at KSC plays in dealing with vendors like Canvas and Amazon Web Services.
“We have a role in managing the vendor, managing communication, managing authentication pieces. We are more of a communication role,” Seraichick said.
Seraichick said that she is hopeful that the issue with Canvas will not happen again.
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